Category: Sunday Roast


How long?

It’s been a year since I did a Roast. I know when reviving this column I said I would only do it occasionally, but a whole year …! Does this mean I don’t get out much any more?

Well, I do, I just have so many other things to occupy my time, namely trying to polish up my novel, Dead Girl Stalking so I can release on Amazon. But this doesn’t mean I no longer observe the bizarre around me. Take the incident after my writing breakfast in town the other day.

A bit of bother over a hover

Sunday Roast - Hoverboard 1

Have you seen these things? I hadn’t but they are apparently the latest craze to hit the streets. They’re nicknamed hover-boards, and when I say a craze, I don’t simply mean fad. Craze could be applied to the state of mind of the user, because you must be crazy to ride around on one.

Take the couple I came across after leaving my breakfast venue.

IMAG0266

Young man in baseball cap with cute young girl on his arm. Or was it the other way round? You see the man was on one of these hover-boards, being motorised around town. However, every time he wanted to turn, his girlfriend had to guide him in the right direction.

Mate, you looked ridiculous. It was as if she were taking her pet for a walk. His body never moved an inch, all the time thinking he was the man, and so cool. But if the girlfriend had let go of his hand, I suspect street cred would have dropped quicker than he did as he tumbled to the ground.

However, he didn’t as girlfriend guided her puppy around corners and finally helped him across the road, all the time doing the work while he didn’t flex a muscle.

But then we had the ultimate joke. Do you know where Hoverman went after I took the photograph? He turned right and entered a bloody gym!

Arrrggghhh! Perhaps if he’d walked for once in his life and didn’t use a hover-board, he wouldn’t need to go to a gym!

And then there’s the name – hover-boards. But they don’t even bleeding well hover!!! They have wheels and are quite clearly rolling along the ground.

Hover-boards, for Christ’s sake. Watch people move effortless. Or in the case of my home town, wait five seconds until you hit an uneven pavement and go arse over tit.

People who play with odd shaped balls

Sunday Roast - World Cup Rugby

So it’s the Rugby World Cup (sense the underwhelmed tone) and I have to say, I’m not interested.

It’s not the game I hate, I simply don’t understand it. What I also despise is the culture surrounding the sport. All this male bonding, arm in arm on pub tables singing, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, coming for to carry them home because they’re too pissed to drive. You’ve also got to admire the irony of middle class white folk singing a black spiritual about gaining freedom from slavery.

Anyway, I kind of grasp the principle of getting the ball (Ball!! A ball is a spheroid) from one end of the field to the other. What I can’t fathom are details such as penalties given for no other reason than the referee thought it was time he awarded one. And the referees, themselves are an enigma. They watch all this carnage on the field and do nothing, then some person taps an opponent on the shoulder to say, ‘Pardon me, Claude,’ and he gives a bloody foul. Baffling. It’s stop/start all the way through the game with possession passing at random. And scrums … don’t get me started on scrums. What the bleeding frig are they all about? It’s like a bizarre game of twister.

Twister - Sunday Roast

But who do we have to blame for this stupid game? Yes, Mr William bloody Webb Ellis (Now you know why I’m good at quizzes … Huh!). You see, in 1823, during a game of football while at Rugby Posh School, Ellis allegedly picked up the ball and ran.

William Webb Ellis

Well, isn’t that just typical. When you were at school, wasn’t there always one tosspot who due to the fact they were shit at soccer, would start either bouncing the ball around like a basketball, or run with it in order to disguise their own inadequacies at the sport.

And so we have Rugby, a game created by somebody who thought themselves the bees knees at being class comic, but was, in fact, a total twat.

*** Appendices***

(i) Rugby ~ A game for people who aren’t skilful enough to play football.

(ii) Football ~ A game for those unable to understand the rules of cricket.

Nothing is free in this life

Do any older folk remember the free gifts you used to get in your cereal packets? Little plastic figures of Sooty and Sweep, or Doctor Who collectable cards such as these.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Wheatbix

They made breakfasts worthwhile and got the kids eating because what they really wanted was for Mum and Dad to buy a new packet as soon as possible in order to get another gift.

Now, however, the term free with your cereal is used very creatively. Take Kellogs, for example.

I purchased a packet of cornflakes the other day and saw the words, Get you Free Bowl on the back of the box.

img018 (1280x1251) (640x626)

Great … Free gift. Just like old times. But hang on a minute. On closer inspection, I noticed the facts.

Step 1: Buy three promotional packs of cornflakes to collect the tokens.

Okay, so how is that free?

Step 2: Go online and enter the codes from inside the boxes.

Right …. that’s assuming you have internet, otherwise you’ll have to go to an internet café, pay a charge and buy a medium latte while you register for your free cereal bowl.

Step 3: Pay £2 postage.

Arrggghhhh! That’s not fucking free!!!

Then after choosing your bowl (Step 4) in this exceptionally quick and simple way of getting something for nothing, you come across the final hurdle.

Step 5: Wait for your bowl to be delivered, noting that the packet states this will take up to 90 days.

What!!! For heavens sake. You can buy bowls from a supermarket for a quid. Heck, I could even join a pottery class, learn how to mould clay and make a bloody cereal bowl in less than 90 days if I wanted.

Jeez!

Well, that warps up this roast

I shall bid you farewell and at this rate, see you this time next year.

Cheers.

Nick

 

I’m back.

Sept 2014 I'm Back © Antony N Britt

Yes, even though I said I was going to end the Sunday Roast when I last posted in December 2013, I couldn’t help myself. You see, there are so many stupid things to comment on, and they all seem to happen to me. Therefore, what I shall do is offer an occasional meal for you. And here it is.

So what’s been happening?

I’ve been busy: Writing another book, rehearsing for a musical, and working bloody hard.. I’ve also not long returned from a week’s holiday in my favourite exotic hotspot – Torbay.

Sept 24 - Torbay © Antony N Britt

Now don’t laugh, I’ve been going there on and off for 35 years and this was my 18th trip. I love the place. You’d think after all that time, though, I’d be bored, but you’re wrong. There’s always something new to see, like the most sinister looking Disney Tramp I have ever seen.

Sept 2014 - Tramp © Antony N Britt

Really, the thing looked rabid. And while I was in the same amusement arcade, I noticed this in one of the 2 pence tipping machines.

Sept 2014 - 2p Machine © Antony N Britt

Okay, how exactly are you supposed to win that mug? There is no way it would ever get down the drop slot and even if it did, it would smash.

But that wasn’t all I saw on holiday. I took the kids on their bi-annual visit to the model village and this was in one of the displays.

Sept 2014 Charlton Heston

I hate to ask, but had the late Charlton Heston begun a course of hormone treatment in preparation for a transgender operation? I’m not sure, but those breasts are bigger than my ex-wife’s.

And there were other curiosities …

Sept 2014 - Shopping Train © Antony N Britt

Huh! Why; something Thomas the Tank uses when he goes to Tesco?

And there was an even bigger, why in Dartmouth.

Sept 2014 - Dartmouth Fish © Antony N Britt

Something looks decidedly fishy about that décor.

And another new experience for me in Torbay, I went on the big wheel which you can see in this picture.

Sept 2014 - Torquay Wheel © Antony N Britt

However, it was only when I got to the top and it stopped for five minutes, I suddenly remembered my terrible fear of heights.

Sept 2014 - Top of Big Wheel Torquay © Antony N Britt

Jesuuuus! It was high. I never used to be that scared when I was young, but I was glad to get off this time.

However, the holiday wasn’t all that bad, and I did get to play an upmarket game of crazy golf on a top course.

Sept 2014 - Mini Golf © Antony N Britt

Yes, they don’t make them like they do in Torbay. Not quite sure what the pig is doing, but I made a bit of a ham of my shot as a result.

And I discovered a funny thing in my wallet.

No, it wasn’t a condom – smart arse. Before going on holiday, I emptied my wallet of all the useless things I wouldn’t want (like condoms). However, once in Torbay, I found I did need the store loyalty card, and I did need my petrol miles card, and I especially needed my backup credit card. I may have even needed my driving licence. What I didn’t need, though, was the business card given to me by the guy doing magic tricks at my nephew’s wedding.

So if I needed extra cash or to present my licence, I was buggered. But on the other hand, if I happened to require the services of a magician on holiday … hey, don’t say I’m never prepared on that score.

Sept 2014 - The Magician

And that’s the holiday, but what else have I been doing?

Well, I returned home to find my back patio covered in weeds. Yes, these would be the ones the man who re-laid my slabs two years ago said would never return.

Now I know what you are going to say, weeds are simply flowers growing in the wrong place.

Sept 2014 - Weeds © Antony N Britt

Bollocks! They are not! Weeds are evil and must be eradicated. However, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on weed killer so I was pleased to have a chance encounter with the man who does the gardens at work who told me the trade secret.

Formula: ½ Gallon of Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons of washing up liquid, and one cup of salt.

Cup! What size cup, for heaven’s sake: Egg cup, tea cup, FA Cup …? I don’t know, so I took the liberal view and used a mug. However, after spending loads on this pump spray container, I was kind of wishing I’d simply bought the weedkiller in the first place as it would have been far cheaper.

Okay, does a mixture of mainly vinegar really get rid of your weeds? The answer is, yes, but every time I step into my garden now, I get a craving to buy a bag of chips.

Change my name to Doctor Griffin.

Sept 2014 - Invisible Man

You see, that was the name of the Invisible Man in the novel by HG Wells.

So you’re going to ask why … Okay, I’ll tell.

By chance while online, I came across somebody I worked with over twenty years ago. I was surprised, but glad because I liked them and we always got on. I messaged her but imagine how put out I was when after two or three conversations she admitted she couldn’t remember me. I named numerous other staff members of the time, and so did she, but I was still forgotten. How is this possible? We sat opposite one another for two years! Have I been erased from history? Obviously so. But even more weird, at least once a month somebody will come up to me and swear they know me from somewhere, but the person they think I am is not me. Work that one out!

Great, somewhere I have a doppelgänger enjoying a living out of my past.

Too Mush-room on my plate.

The reason for that terrible phrase will become obvious when I explain what will now go down in history as The Great Aberystwyth Wetherspoon’s Mushroom Incident.

Yes, I was in Wetherspoon’s having one of their breakfasts. While ordering, I asked if instead of tomatoes and beans (yuk), could I have extra mushrooms. You see, the breakfast only came with one flat mushroom. And I do like my mushrooms.

I was told yes, and imagine my anticipation when my breakfast arrived and I was told, ‘Your extra mushrooms will come on a separate plate.’

Great … loads of mushrooms. What more could I ask?

Picture my face when this arrived.

Sept 2014 - Single Mushroom Wetherspoons © Antony N Britt

Look, one sodding mushroom in place of beans and tomato is not a fair swap – right?

Is the Sunday Roast back for good?

Probably once a month. And not even on a Sunday sometimes. So it’s just going to be The Roast. You see I’m terribly busy and how many tales of dodgy mushrooms can one person deliver?

Cheers.

Nick

Still harping on about Christmas.

I do hate it. Just for once it would be nice to do something I want instead of having to please other people.

December 23 - Bah Humbug!

Ahh, Christmas. A time when we should all worship our loving God. The same God who slaughters over 2 million of his subjects in the Bible. With friends like him …?

Take the nativity. Jesus is born and God sends a star to guide three wise men to bear gifts. Unfortunately, the star isn’t accurate and the men end up going to King Herod by mistake. So, having been sent the wrong way by God, the wise men blurt out the secret to Herod, thus instigating the massacre of the innocents. Hmm … Doesn’t sound very wise to me.

Dec 29 - Monty Python Wise Men

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Because of God’s misdirection, dozens of newborn subjects, waiting to be brainwashed into loving God, are murdered.

There is a moral to this story. If ever in life you are lost and in need of direction, don’t trust God, buy a Sat-Nav instead.

Merry Christmas.

And talking of Christmas presents …

Earlier this year I did a piece about a two inch Hex/Allen key which came posted to me in a twelve inch box full of polystyrene shapes to protect the metal object. Well, one of David’s Christmas presents nearly matched that for over zealous packing.

Dec 29 - Big Box for Small Item © Antony N Britt

There it is, a massive three-foot box to send a twelve inch toy train. And no bubble wrap … tut tut. It’s a good job my recycle collection came two days after Christmas.

And while I was shopping for the kids toys …

I’m glad my daughter isn’t into those bland karaoke singers from One Dimension (I mean … One Direction). If she was, she may have wanted me to buy her the replica dolls instead of the Gothic Dead Dolls she normally likes (Yes, I have children with strange tastes). However, while I was shopping for Clawdeen Wolf, Venus Flytrap and Viperine Gorgon, I came across the previously mentioned boy-band dolls.

Dec 29 - One Direction Doll in Shop

Ahh … I’m kind of guessing Liam is the minger of the band who nobody wants. I almost feel sorry for him.

And the picture of the week.

When I used to post on Myspace, I only offered one photograph a week at first. It would always be something I came across while out and about. This one I’m sticking on now reminds me of the ludicrous things I used to see.

As I was climbing the staircase to make my way to a coffee shop, I noticed elsewhere in the building there was a CD and Record fair taking place. However, half way up the stairs, after kicking some puppet frog out of the way, I noticed a directional sign for the CD event.

Dec 29 - Upside Down Sign © Antony N Britt

I’m guessing they hadn’t a sign which catered for the stairs turning to the right so therefore had to put this one upside down.

Only in Walsall.

A short observation.

Also in my Myspace roasts, I would have a piece titled, Knob of the Week. Okay, this knob was a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t posted in that time so I really should give one final award and hand it to Lord Hanningfield.

Dec 29 - Lord Hanningfield

Hanningfield has been in the news over the revelation he claimed £300 allowance for spending 45 minutes in the House of Lords one day.

Yet another example of the over privileged having positions of power in this country. In an interview, the Tory Twit stated he didn’t know what the fuss was about. He called it, “A storm in a teacup.”

Spending under an hour to earn £300, I’m surprised he had time for a cup of tea.

And a Happy New Year.

2013 has been the most difficult year of my life, and it had a knock on effect in my writing. As for the Sunday Roast, I hope throughout, people haven’t been offended by what I say. It really is, tongue-in-cheek.

I don’t actually dislike One Direction. I wouldn’t know their songs if they were blasting my eardrums. I don’t even hate Russel Brand, Sharon Osbourne or any of the other celebrities I’ve lampooned. Even the royals, I’m ambivalent about. So I’m truly okay with all I have a go at and none of the insults are meant. Well, apart from those directed at Iain Duncan Smith. He’s a complete cunt.

Dec 29 - Iain Duncan Smith

Farewell from the Sunday Roast.

Cheers.

Nick

Dec 15 - Christmas Card

Ahh … now I know Christmas is coming.

Christmas in my house would not be complete without the Stroods.

I imagine puzzled faces on those who have only read my Roasts over the last year. I shall explain. Mr and Mrs E Strood live a few doors down and over the road from me. Their house is one number different to mine.

The view from my window with the Stroods house on the corner and about the hundredth scrap van seen this morning

Since I arrived in 1997, I have had a Christmas card for the Stroods, wrongly delivered to my house from their friends, Betty and Bert. Now, how do I know it’s Betty and Bert? Ahem! I mistakenly thought it was for me and opened it that first year. Stupid, I should have known. I’m a miserable Bah Humbug bastard. Nobody sends me Christmas cards.

Anyway, the situation in my street is you don’t converse with your neighbours until the day they depart to a new house and then only if you’ve spent years nodding good morning at them. Therefore, every year I don the balaclava and mount a clandestine operation in the middle of the night to deliver the card to the correct address.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s the same thing asked every year. Why the hell don’t I tell the Stroods and hand it personally? That’s just it. I don’t. Year after year, I carry out my mission. One occasion I got in trouble and set off two security lights, knocked over a wheelie bin and got chased by the dog. Then there was the year it snowed and I left tracks everywhere and had to go back with a brush to sweep them away.

As I say, I speak of this Christmas card every year as those of you who’ve followed me from Myspace will remember when the Sunday Roast appeared there. For people who can’t remember my roasts on Myspace – tough, you can’t see them any more as Justin Timberlake and his consortium erased all the blogs when they took over.

Back to the Stroods … and Betty and Bert. I always wait with anticipation for this card. You see, I get worried now. What if the Stroods move house and don’t inform Betty and Bert? Come on, in 16 years, they haven’t told them they’ve been sending a card to the wrong address, so it stands a chance. Then again, what if … what if … Betty and Bert … have died?

Nooooooo!

This was the major worry last year as (horror and concern) I didn’t get the card delivered to my house.

I was traumatised. Okay, there could have been the logical explanation that Betty and Bert had finally updated their address books, but come on, we all know that’s not likely.

However, I have the greatest pleasure to announce, yesterday. Saturday December 14, the card to Mr and Mrs E Stood – finally arrived … at my house. Its got glitter in it this year and I can rest in my sleep. At least I will once it’s past midnight and my in the dead of night military operation to deliver the bloody card is well and truly completed.

And a late tribute.

I know Nelson Mandela died over a week ago and he’s being buried as I speak, but I didn’t do a roast last Sunday so couldn’t comment.

I don’t think I have ever seen a person’s passing marked so universally with everybody I know, praising them.

When I see good folk dying young while scumbag tyrants like Pinochet, Mugabe and Thatcher live to a ripe old age, it reinforces my belief that there isn’t a God. However, here is one guy who deserved the long life they received. Below is a picture I posted over a year ago when he met David Cameron while perfecting the art of turning into a chameleon.

July 22 Chameleon Mandela

Yes, it’s a joke, but one I think Nelson would have laughed at as he did seem to have a cracking sense of humour. Must have done to describe meeting the Spice Girls as being one of the greatest moments of his life.

Dec 15 - Nelson Mandela meets the Spice Girls

Stormy Weather.

There has been some terrible weather in the last week or so and much of the East Coast has been badly affected. I saw one piece where David Cameron visited the oddly named coastal town, Wells-Next-The-Sea.

I feel for anybody in a situation where homes are ruined, but feel for the local council. They are now going to have to change all their stationery to read, Wells-In-The-Sea.

Bad pun? I expect to get a flood of complaints now.

More sights you see about town …

Last time out, I posted a picture of a shop window displaying what I can only describe as decapitated heads.

Dec 1 - Head (1024x579)

Well, I saw another one this week which stirred my interest. Monsters from Doctor Who.

Dec 15 - Flower Heads (447x1024)

Don’t believe me? Look at this picture from the 1986 story, Trial of a Time Lord.

Dec 15 - Doctor Who Vervoid

Hey, December 15 and I’ve only said, Bah humbug, once.

Twice, Damn it! Oh well, think of me tonight as I deliver the Stroods card … probably waking the entire neighbourhood in the process.

Cheers.

Nick

Happy Birthday, Doctor Who.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who 50th. The Day of the Doctor.

I’m actually four weeks older than the time lord. However, that doesn’t make me 1200 years old. I mean I was born a month before the programme began in 1963.

These days, I’m jealous. You get all sorts of lovely toys to play with. Look …

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Figures

During my childhood, I had no such luxury. Do you know what I had to use my imagination on? The free cardboard figures you got off the back of a Wheetabix packet.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Wheetabix

Yes, those. And I collected the lot. Wish I still had them.

And the same feeling of being short-changed is applicable to DVDs. I didn’t have a VHS video recorder until I was 20 so as a kid, the only way I could relive the adventures was by reading the classic Target novelizations (Yes … I do still have those).

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Target Novels

Ahh, the memory of my childhood, trying to picture how the Tardis materialising looked on TV simply from Terrance Dick’s description of a blue box appearing to the sound of wheezing and groaning. He actually coined that phrase which has stuck down the years. These days, the only wheezing and groaning I come across is the old couple up the road having sex with the windows open.

And talking of Doctor Who merchandise …

You can’t half get ripped off. There are now limited edition replicas of props from the series you can buy. The latest is a cube from the Series 7 episode, The Power of Three. It retails at about £40.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who The Power of Three Cube

Come on, it’s a frigging lump of plastic. The words rip and off come to mind, as does the the term, sucker … and I don’t mean the things which the Daleks use as an arm, either.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Dalek

You wouldn’t catch me wasting money on something like that. Well, apart from my genuine Tardis key, that is.

Dec 1 - Tardis Key

Okay, so if I had the money, I’d get a cube.

Not mush-room left on the plate today.

A couple of times recently I have moaned about mushrooms, or the lack of them, especially when requesting extra.

Dec 1 - Mushrooms at St Paul's The Crossing

Ahhh … The St Paul’s Crossing Restaurant, the only place in Walsall who know the true meaning of the words, more mushrooms.

The morbid sights you see about town …

Dec 1 - Head

Fascinating. Decapitated heads in a shop window. Enough to give you nightmares.

What a load of plebs.

Sept 22 Andrew Mitchell

The case of MP Andrew Mitchell (or pleb-gate) has been in the news again this week. Mitchell is the politician who was accused of having a run-in with police officers guarding Downing Street when he tried to cycle through a security entrance. He quite rightly, lost his job for his disrespect but has always maintained he never used the word, pleb.

There is no evidence either way what was spoken by Mitchell, or the plebs, but the MP does admit to arguing and swearing at them. Following investigations into whether officers lied about this, there have been calls for Mitchell to be reinstated in his job.

Now then, he denies calling them plebs, but he did swear at them. Hmmm … I call swearing at a police officer who is trying to guard your life, ten times worse an offence than referring to them as plebs. The enquiry team presiding over this seem to have conveniently forgotten that.

Poor old Andrew Mitchell, you have to feel sorry for him. I mean, he’s not done that much wrong in his career … apart from insulting hard working policemen … and lobbying to lift trade embargoes on foreign companies who gave donations to his parliamentary office … and investing funds into firms involved in tax avoidance. Yes, just the sort of person we want running this country, or rather one we should send on a holiday abroad and politely ask if they’d leave their passport at the door.

And here’s a man who should be called more than a pleb …

Dec 1 - Assem Allam

Hull City owner, Assem Allam is the latest in a long line of tosspot millionaires coming into the game and trying to rewrite history. He wants to change the name, Hull City to Hull Tigers. Now fans have complained to which the knobhead has responded by telling them to die. Hate to say this, Assem, these fans were there many years before you were, and they’ll be there long time after you have departed.

It’s like Cardiff City with a pillock of equal proportions in Vincent Tan. Using the football club as his personal plaything, the Malaysian businessman raised anger by changing the long traditional blue kit to his favourite colour. So, we now have a team nicknamed, The Bluebirds, playing in red.

Note to this and any other investor who believe in their own God Complex mentality. If you want to treat football clubs like toys, go and play with this.

Dec 1 - Undertones My Perfect Cousin Subbuteo

Right, enough ranting …

I start two weeks of very long shifts tomorrow so probably won’t be a Sunday Roast next week. I’m going to watch Doctor Who … and maybe play with my sonic screwdriver.

February 24 - Toy Sonic Screwdriver © Antony N Britt

Cheers.

Nick

The Sunday Roast – Parklife

A stroll in the park.

Took a walk in mine recently. The Arboretum is my home town of Walsall’s premier park, with lots of trees. It’s had a multi-million pound makeover recently, but I’m hard pressed to notice any difference.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Bandstand (1024x579)

There is a refurbished bandstand, I’ll give them that. However, I can’t recall seeing many bands being advertised to play there so it remains locked up most of the time.

Next, we have the boathouse, fully restored to former glory, reminiscent of days gone by.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Boathouse (1024x569)

Looks just as I remember … apart from boats, which there aren’t any as I assume health and safety deem it unsafe to have them on the lake.

Oh well, if I couldn’t go on the boats or listen to a brass band, I thought I might as well have an ice cream, or a cup of tea.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Old Tea Room (1024x565)

That used to be a cafe, but it has now been hollowed out with only the frame remaining to use as shelter for a couple of benches. I suppose I could sit there and pretend I had an ice cream.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Ladies Bowls Club (1024x550)

This was once the other cafe, but that also no longer serves refreshments. No, this building has been converted for the ladies bowls club to meet in one afternoon a week.

I gave up, took a look at the lake, and saw this sign.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Pool (1024x567)

WTF? Why have a sign with wording which can only be seen if you are in the lake, itself? I was curious, so I walked round and took this next picture at an difficult angle.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Pool With Sign (1024x863)

You may not be able to see properly, but it says no swimming or paddling. Good advice, if anybody could read it. However the only eyes which could, belong to the ducks. Word to the planning committee … Ducks can swim.

It makes one wonder who makes these decisions, and why has it cost millions, taking years to complete?

So we have a park with no tea shop, a bandstand with no band, and a boating lake with no boats. Not only that, you are in danger of drowning in the lake because the only creatures who can see the warning signs that it’s dangerous, are the ducks. Personally, I think the planning committee should be sent to this other park attraction.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Stocks (1024x579)

And more planning madness.

I live in a pleasant little road with trees lined either side of the road. Unfortunately, some of them are very old and have grown so big, they take up most of the pavement, meaning you can’t get round. One such tree became so great a problem, it unfortunately had to be felled. Never mind, a young sapling was inserted in its place and life was reborn. But hang on … let’s have a look where they planted it.

Nov 10 - New Tree in Middle of Pavement (1024x870)

What in the name of sanity? They stuck the thing in the middle of the path, meaning you still can’t get past with a pushchair, wheelchair or any other kind of chair. A couple of years from now, it’ll be as bad as the one they chopped down.

A side order of boil in the bag rice.

I noticed this commercial on TV for boil in the bag rice. Burning question is … why has somebody stuck Uncle Ben on a tiny stool?

Uncle Ben's Rice Commercial

Just how many autobiographies can one person milk from the system?

It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine, the way publishers ignore writing talent for cheap celebrity orientated trash. Who buys this rubbish? I read recently that Sharon Osbourne has a third biography coming out with the title, Unbreakable. You see, she’s obviously crammed so much into life since her previous efforts of 2005 and 2007.

April 22 explosion Sharon

There is Sharon exploding when I blew her up last year. Not so unbreakable, now. For somebody who has made millions by having no talent whatsoever, perhaps Unbreakable is the wrong title. How about calling it, Thank God for my Psychopathic Husband?

Turning 50 – update.

First crisis of the ageing process was on the day after my 50th. I left my keys on the kitchen table and locked myself out the house. Oh dear, this is the beginning of the end. I need to lie down.

Cheers.

Nick

Back with a Bang.

Nov 3 - Fireworks

This is a sample of the fireworks I’ve bought specifically to annoy the neighbours.

Nov 3 - Fireworks to Annoy the Neighbours © Antony N Britt (988x1024)

Okay, that may be a lie. The fireworks are for David’s 21st Birthday. However, they will still annoy the neighbours. And that’s a shame because most of my neighbours are nice. In fact, the only one I would want to annoy is deaf and wouldn’t hear the bangs anyway.

So what have I been doing during my month away from Sunday Roasts?

What do you mean, you hadn’t noticed I was gone?

Yes, I took October off. It has been a trying year and I (a) needed to regroup, and (b) didn’t have much to write about. However, I did take a holiday.

Nov 3 - Aberystwyth © Antony N Britt (1024x279)

That’s Aberystwyth, as seen from the castle, if you can still call it a castle. Another lovely weekend break with family. Good company, and good food. What could go wrong?

Now then, remember my mushroom moan from a while back on a previous holiday, and the fact many places seem to discriminate against them? This time it was Wetherspoons in Aberystwyth. What it is, I hate fried tomato and beans and don’t want them on my plate. My breakfast already came with one flat mushroom, so I asked if I could swap the tomato and beans for more mushrooms. And this is what I got …

Nov 3 - Cold Breakfast at Wetherspoons Aberystwyth © Antony N Britt (1024x768)

Note to Wetherspoons. One extra mushroom does not represent a fair swap.

And the breakfast was cold.

And I would have complained had they the courtesy to ask if everything was all right with my meal.

Picky … me?

Ahh … Aberystwyth.

Nov 3 - Rickety Ramshackle Aberystwyth © Antony N Britt (1024x768)

Got to love a shop with the name, Rickety Ramshackle.

On turning 50 …

Yes, you heard right. I have passed the dreaded number. Many people say I don’t look it and want to know the secret. All I’m saying is, there’s much truth to vampire stories and drinking the blood of virgins. Still, it can’t last. I live in Walsall. How many virgins do you think we have in the town?

Now I tried to keep the birthday low key. That was the motto. Mind you, it was a lovely surprise to receive a cake which somebody special got up at six in the morning to make for me.

Nov 3 - Birthday Cake © Antony N Britt (1024x531)

However, it wasn’t as much a surprise as she had when I extinguished the candles and the dusting of icing blew up in her face like a volcanic ash cloud.

Oops!

So … Low key! On my birthday, I thought going to a quiz with my family would manage to maintain that status. Unfortunately, the quiz was an event with the Aldridge Musical Comedy Society and I ended up having happy birthday sung to me by the entire company and sixty more of their friends.

I just don’t do discreet.

My birthday meal, proper was the next day, seeing as I was at the quiz. For an Indian, we usually go to the excellent Golden Moments in Walsall, but for a change, the family tried Five Rivers Restaurant in the town. Apparently, the chef cooked for the G8 conference years ago.

It was okay, but a touch overrated. Not only that, do you call these poppadoms?

Nov 3 - Smallest Popadoms Ever in an Indian Restaurant © Antony N Britt (1024x775)

Really? Well I don’t. They’re like giant Walkers Skips, and nothing more. And note … that’s a small plate.

The place is described as À la carte. Not too up on my French, but I now assume À la carte translates as meaning, small portions.

Nov 3 - Small Dessert in a Massive Dish at Five Rivers, Walsall © Antony N Britt (1024x639)

Yes, all very fancy, but why serve a dessert on a plate which was bigger than the one for my main course?

And would you like to see the main course?

Nov 3 - Plate with a hole in it. © Antony N Britt (1024x579)

What in the name of sanity? A stupid shaped dish with a hole in so when I poured the rice on, it fell through the gap and went all over the table.

But they cooked for President Clinton, I’m told. Yeah, and did he get served micro poppadoms and have to wait an hour between main course and dessert?

And a final note to Five Rivers. If you no longer serve a Bailey’s Bomb for dessert, take it off the bloody menu.

Golden Moments, I shall see you soon.

Football Crazy.

It is crazy, how the media go all gooey over certain footballers. Recently, every time I switch on Sky Sports, I hear pundits wetting themselves over how fantastic Luis Suarez is playing at the moment. Yes, Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker. Or rather, Luis Suarez, the cheating racist thug who should have been kicked out of English football if Liverpool FC had any decency about them.

Nov 3 - Luis Suarez bites Branislav Ivanovic

Here we see Luis, having a mid-afternoon snack of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm, earlier in the year.

There is simply no dignity with some football clubs.

And finally, in the garden …

I have done my last lawn trim of the year, cut the hedge and buried a cat. But I never expected to find what I did, living in my shed.

Nov 3 - Frog in the Shed © Antony N Britt (1024x806)

Possibly can’t see it, but top left of the pool of water (yes, I have a pool in my shed) is a frog. The pool is there because despite paying some guy last year to re-felt the roof, he missed the corner as it was difficult to get to … and now it leaks, and foliage grows, and I get frogs in residence.

It could only happen to me. But I think I shall keep the frog. I’m calling it Nimon.

Cheers.

Nick

A weather report.

Hello, and welcome to a bright sunny day, as it was the other morning. Although, not according to my new phone.

Sept 29 - Weather on HTC One Mini

That’s a screen shot of the weather report which said it was foggy. In fact, I had the same every day for a week, even when the weather was bright. I’m not up on all these technical things, it took me half hour setting it up to get past Language = English. Therefore, I’m sure  something is going wrong when calibrating these weather settings. You see, whatever I’ve done, my smart new phone now believes it exists in Victorian London.

Living doll.

Mannequins, dolls, they freak me out. Ever since Doctor Who.

Sept 29 - Doctor Who - Spearhead From Space Shop Dummies.

Plastic dolls, I hate them. Pure evil. I mean, who could not be scared by this?

Sept 29 - Plastic Doll Scary

Brrrr. So, imagine my horror when I saw the new adverts for Swedish flat-pack furniture store, Ikea.

Sept 29 - Ikea Doll Advert

Arrggghhh! What are the Scandinavians trying to do, freak me out? This doesn’t belong in a furniture ad, it should be in a horror film.

Some people should not be allowed to run a football club.

Paolo Di Canio, say what you like about him: Total fascist, or the lesser charge of simply being obnoxious. Whatever you decide, I think he had a raw deal at the hands of Sunderland Football Club’s incompetent owners.

Sept 29 - Paolo Di Canio

So we have the scenario a few months ago. Sunderland in huge trouble. They sack their previous manager and bring in a guy (Di Canio) who has had modest success. An unpopular decision with many but over the past few months, the Sunderland board allow him to sell their best player and buy a dozen or so new ones which were to his liking and style of play. Then, when things are going wrong after five games, the idiotic board sack the man they lavished all this cash on, leaving them with the prospect of a new manager having to work with a load of players he doesn’t want.

Football chairmen … Most should stick to playing this.

Sept 29 - Football Manager 2013

Still, not a lot of sympathy for Paolo. He doesn’t seem a very nice person.

Beliefs … Sometimes I can’t believe them.

I watch the news about the surgeon who lost his entire family in a house fire … and I want to cry. I then hear the grieving man draws comfort from his faith and religion … and I want to scream.

Meanwhile, in a land down under …

Sept 29 - PrisonerCell Block H

So they have brought back Prisoner and renamed it Wentworth. I have to admit, I used to watch a few of those Cell Block H’s late at night. Vinegar Tits and the Freak … right?

However, it wasn’t my favourite Aussie soap. If you wanted the bizarre, who remembers this?

Sept 29 - Sons and Daughters

Yes, Sons and Daughters, the show where I think in five years, every character had fathered, given birth or married every other member of the cast. Confusing? I needed to write the permutations on an A1 flip chart to keep track. Talk about ridiculous. I do miss it, though.

And talking about re-inventing old stuff. …

It could be you …

Remember the slogan when the National Lottery first launched?

Sept 29 - National Lottery

Yes, the magic finger pointing to the lucky winner. Well, Lotto is being given a facelift and launched as a new game next week. I’ve had a look and it seems to me … same game, new double the price of a ticket, and not only that, less money for some of the higher paying prizes, too. Still, for three numbers, you now get £25 instead of £10. Hmmmm … somebody will be rich as a result of this redeveloped prize fund, and it won’t be the people buying the tickets.

Note to my lottery syndicate members … We need to talk.

Wow!

I actually wrote this on a Sunday for once, about half hour before posting. I wonder what I should do for the rest of the day. Shall I check the weather on my phone and see if it’s worth going out?

Partly sunny. At least it’s not fog.

Cheers.

Nick

Well, a sort of break, anyway.

Sept 22 - Llandudno © Antony N Britt

I spent a few days last week taking David on a holiday to Llandudno. You all know David, don’t you? He’s my autistic son who I write about in Living with David posts. Well, I’d promised him a stay in a hotel and you know me, what could possibly happen?

The Great Orme Tramway.

Sept 22 - Great Orme Tramway © Antony N Britt

First thing David wanted to do was take me up the Great Orme Tramway. I believe it’s the only functioning one of its kind in the country and yes, it was a good experience, until time to go down. You see, there is a connection where you get off one tram and embark on the other which travels on the road. Not a problem, until I saw this history board in the exhibition.

Sept 22 - Great Orme Tragedy

What! Tragedy? You mean people have actually died on this? Nobody blooming told me that, and I still had half the journey to complete.

Sept 22 - Great Orme Tramway Hill © Antony N Britt

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhgggggghhhhh!

Thankfully, we reached the bottom in one piece, but some of my stomach contents remained at the top.

Holiday’s are meant to be fun.

Sept 22 - Caravans © Antony N Britt

Why, why would anybody do that?

Yes, I know what’s a good idea, tow a mini version of my own house around with me and do as much work as if I hadn’t left home. I mean, it’s so much better to return to after a day’s sightseeing than a nice comfy room like this with clean towels and my bed made each day.

Sep 22 - Room at Premier Inn © Antony N Britt

Never understood camping or pulling a caravan.

And a trip on the Welsh Highland Railway.

This was David’s request for day two. It’s a lovely railway which goes through Snowdonia and sounded excellent. Well, it did until I saw the train we were going on.

Sept 22 - Welsh Highland Railway © Antony N Britt

Still, there were some nice views.

Sept 22 - Rhyd Ddu Station Welsh Highland Railway

Yes, she did have a lovely backside, and those in the other train taking pictures obviously thought so too, but that’s not really what I meant.

Sept 22 - Snowdonia from Porthmadog © Antony N Britt

There, that was the kind of stunning view I was referring to. Phew! That was taken at Porthmadog. And the scenery elsewhere is the only good thing to be said about Porthmadog.

And some stranger views.

Sept 22 - Weird Ornament in Llandudno © Antony N Britt

Welcome? This has to be the most hideous and unwelcoming thing I have ever seen outside a hotel. Weird, or what?

The language barrier.

I know there is always the chance of communication problems in Wales, especially if the natives speak local, but only I could have a misunderstanding when both myself and proprietor of an eating establishment talk English.

It was a nice little cafe, but we only wanted a drink, despite being offered the full menu. Therefore, I gave my order. A simple tea for me, and a can of coke for David.

The waitress turns to David. ‘And what would you like?’

‘The coke’s for him,’ I reply.

She looks puzzled. ‘So he’s not having a drink?’

My turn to be bemused. ‘Yes, he wants a Coca Cola.’

She tries to work this out. ‘So, you want a tea, a cola, and a carrot cake?’

What? How the bloody hell can asking for a can of coke be construed as requesting carrot cake?’

Next time I’ll write it down.

And talking of food …

The breakfast at Brewer’s Fayre is described as all you can eat. As much as you like. And that seems to be the case … unless you ask for mushrooms.

Every day, I said, ‘Loads of mushrooms. Give me two, three portions.’ I even said on the last day, ‘If you can’t fit them on the plate, bring them in a separate bowl.

This is what I got each day.

Sept 22 - Lack of Mushrooms © Antony N Britt

Grrrr. Since when does seven mushrooms constitute all you can eat? Discrimination against mushroom lovers, that’s what I think.

Out shopping.

Went into Rhyl and bought six books for a tenner. Yeah, as if I need more books to read. I then gave David a choice. ‘What would you like to do?’

‘Go to Wilkinson.’

He’s easily pleased. Still, he directed me as he is more familiar with the town from his time at college. However, I was a bit dumfounded when I tried to get in.

Sept 22 - Wilkinson Rhyl © Antony N Britt

There is no door. What the hell is the point of a frontage with a store sign if you can’t bleeding well get in?

The answer is, you have to go a couple of hundred yards round the corner to a main entrance on the high street. This picture was the rear of the building. But why have it appear as though it is a front?

The Welsh try to confuse me at times.

And home … eventually.

Arrived back after a longer than anticipated journey where traffic kept slowing to 30mph. And we all know the reason, don’t we.

Sept 22 - Lorry Overtaking Another Lorry © David Britt

Yes, lorries taking two hours to overtake another lorry thus hogging the middle lane and restricting the amount of vehicles which can pass.

Arrgghhh! Come the revolution, they will be exiled to the near lane, along with those irritating caravans.

Cheers.

Nick

Gone to the dogs.

Last Saturday, I had a night where I did something for me and nobody else. Yes, don’t faint. I went to the dog racing.

Never been before and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Well, I would have if I’d have done better, but you know my luck.

Let’s begin, shall we. You have fourteen races and I chose my winner for each. Should be simple, but after five races my track record was … Last, last, last, last and disqualified.

Now how, you may ask, can a bloody greyhound get disqualified? Easy, if it’s mine, and especially if despite being in the lead, my dog decides to pick a fight with the one in second place as the race approaches its conclusion.

Still, it was a good night and here is a shot of the action.

Sept 15 - Dog Racing

You can’t see anything? But what do you expect, it’s a greyhound race. They’re quick. Well, apart from my dogs who went by the name of Pedigree Chum. It did get better, I’m thankful to say. Let’s face it, it had to. By the end of the night and despite having another two lasts, I did achieve a winner and five second places.

Coming in second. Story of my life.

Prince Charming.

Sept 15 - Prince Charming Adam Ant

No, not Adam Ant, I actually like him. The poncy prince I’m referring to is the current hundredth or so in line to the throne.

Sept 15 - Prince Andrew

Prince Andrew was strolling around Buckingham Palace recently when he was pounced on by security who through he was an intruder. Instead of complying with officers doing their job, the prince uttered the classic, “Don’t you know who I am?”

No, Andrew, or they wouldn’t have bloody held you at gunpoint.

Apparently he gave the officers a right dressing down and is now grateful for having received an apology. What he should be grateful for is having trained staff on the ball in pinpointing a total stranger. Come on, since when has Andrew done anything remotely connected with royalty and no, A Royal It’s a Knockout, doesn’t count.

He spends so much time jetting about from one golf tournament to the next, it’s no wonder the guards didn’t recognise him. They probably forgot what he looked like.

Next time, Andrew should remember some people do a difficult job rather than acting like a pompous prick.

South Staffordshire Water … torture.

It’s always a nightmare trying to collect my from school. The place is situated in a narrow road and due to the nature of the school, dozens of coaches and taxis arrive twice a day to drop off and collect the kids. Therefore, with six weeks holiday recently, you’d have thought that the ideal time to conduct any roadworks.

Not so, South Staffs Water.

Sept 15 - Odell Road Walsall South Staffs Water © David Britt

There we have it, how to make an already difficult problem ten times worse. So, South Staffs … ten out of ten for making improvements, but minus two thousand for planning.

Deck the halls.

Oh no. No, no, no no, no!

I saw this the other day.

Sept 15 - Christmas Treats on sale in September © Antony N Britt

It’s September, for Christ’s sake, and the Co-op have selection boxes and other Christmas goodies on the shelves.

I wouldn’t mind, but they’ll have gone off by December.

Things that go bump.

Went on a ghost hunt on Friday at Warwick Castle. I’d not been on one this year and thought, if I’m going to an event this year, do a big one.

It was good. We had moving objects, voices and all sorts. Although I was disturbed by one criticism of myself. I’m probably not the only person who could flirt with a ghost, thank you. I bet there are many more. Look, it’s not exactly necrophilia, I just like to get into the spirit.

Sept 15 - Winston Churchill at Warwick Castle © Antony N Britt

Still, I said hello to a few famous faces but can’t explain the dark shadow to the left of Winston Churchill’s shoulder. And no, it’s not my thumb, unless parts of my body have become transparent and not only that, the shadow was on the next photo taken from a totally different angle.

Love these ghost hunts, though going to bed at 5am is pretty rough for me these days.

Sept 15 - Wrappers in a cup © Antony N Britt

Above is also from the ghost night and my pathetic attempt to hide the fact I ate all the chocolate biscuits.

I could get used to this life of leisure activities.

Two weeks running. First the dogs, now ghosts and I have to admit to really enjoying ghost nights, especially when volunteering to sit in cupboards. There’s no spiritual or investigative reason for doing so. I just like sitting in cupboards.

Cheers.

Nick